(Delhi Liquor Policy)Delhi to Switch Back to Old Liquor Policy from Tomorrow

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Delhi liquor shops are set to make a comeback with the government saying that it will open 300 liquor vends starting from tomorrow, which is September 1. Tipplers in the national capital had been facing a crisis as a bunch of liquor shops closed last month, as their licenses expired over the New Excise Policy 2021-22 row. Now, they will be replaced by over 300 Delhi government vends from Thursday due to the switch over from the Excise Policy 2021-22 to the old regime, officials said on Wednesday.

The Delhi government has planned to go back to the previous system of liquor excise taxes on September 1. Delhi residents are going to see a change due to this, with the opening of the 300 vends and four microbreweries. Private businesses on the other hand will close their shutters on Thursday.

After Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities of the New Excise Policy 2021-22, it was scrapped. Delhi government agencies are set to take over the retail liquor business in the city from September 1.

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Nearly 250 private liquor vends, licensed under now-withdrawn Excise Policy 2021-22, are functional in the national capital at the moment. However, the liquor supply in the city has been affected due to the New Excise Policy row and the alleged scam, which prompted several liquor shop owners to close their businesses.

Excise officials said the liquor supply will improve from the first week of September due to the opening of more shops. “Currently, there are nearly 250 private shops that will be replaced by over 300 government vends. So there will be more shops and the number will grow further in the coming days as 500 shops are planned to be opened by four Delhi government undertakings,” a senior Excise department officer was quoted as saying by PTI.

The government had issued zonal licenses to private bidders for 849 liquor vends across the city under the Excise Policy, 2021-22.

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With that being scrapped, the authorities had assured to open 500 liquor outlets in the first week of September, and further increase it to 700 by the end of this year. However, as of now, only 300 vends will open, most of which will be set up near metro stations or at malls.

Several government vends will be located in malls and near metro stations. The Delhi government undertakings -DTTDC, DSSIDC, DSCSC, and DCCWS – have been given a target to open 700 liquor shops in the city by end of this year, according to officials.

A mobile app mAbkaridelhi developed by the Excuse department will also become operational in September providing consumers information about the location of liquor stores in their neighborhood and shop timings. It will be available in Hindi and English and can be downloaded from Google Play Store in September. The iOS version will be made available shortly, officials said. It will provide a host of information, retail vends in a locality, their timings, and also enable searching vends in alphabetical order. The app also has the option to submit feedback, they said.

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Apart from this, four microbreweries serving draught beer will start operations in Delhi. “We have permitted three to four microbreweries that will start operations from the first week of September. They are awaiting licenses due to some pending approvals by different agencies,” said a senior Excise department officer.

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